Wednesday, December 29, 2010

queso es muy sabroso

ok, i have to ask...i wonder if you think like i do? for your sake, i'd hope not. but, i am curious, if, like you have a list of things that you wish you could do, but you can't? i do. fortunately, it is fairly short list, but i do have one.

i wish i could play the piano well.

i wish i could speak fluent spanish.

that's it.

for as long as i can remember in my adult life, i have wished i could do these two things. i'm weird, aren't i? but, it's true. i sit and marvel when someone, who looks fairly normal on the outside, then sits down and blows your mind when they begin to play the piano in beautiful fluidity. to me, that looks SO in need of a skilled person. i am not a skilled person. well, at least, not in that way. and, since i'm all about outright honesty, i can admit fully to the fact that i can trace the reason that i do not currently know how to play the piano to two things: first of all, my left hand is good for nothing. (neither is my left foot, for that matter) don't believe me? ask any of my former coaches who constantly tried to get me to shoot left-handed lay-ups, or score a goal from anywhere besides the far right side of the soccer field. "right hand dominant" doesn't begin to describe it. but, the main reason i can't play the piano is more simple that that. friend, i am just....lazy. more on this in a minute...

i also really want to be able to speak spanish. this one even surpasses my desire to tickle the ivories with style. i can trace this desire back to middle school maybe, when my spanish teacher walked in the room, looking as completely caucasian as can be, and began to speak to us in beautiful and fluent spanish like she'd been doing it for years. i was blown away. she didn't look anything but white anglo saxon protestant, yet there she was able to speak in a whole 'nother language. whoa. so, that began my best friend, lindsay, and i with our past time of "faking it". funny plan, really. as years went by and lindsay and i moved on from the required two years of spanish, knowing not a whole lot more than our typical colors...we didn't want to move on from our "second" language. so sometimes, when we were feeling silly (which was most of the time), we would sit and wait for someone we didn't know to walk by and then we would start speaking in "our" spanish. let me demonstrate....

"me llamo carolina, queso es muy sabroso, donde esta el bano, cuidado el piso mojado, hola!"

when you string it all together, it sounds like the beginning to a beautiful and lovely spanish conversation. one that you, too, would want to be a part of, i'm quite sure. however, once translated, instead, you can see that i simply said "my name is caroline, cheese is very tasty, where is the bathroom, be careful wet floor, hello!" nice, huh? yes, well, lindsay and i thought so.

and once again, there are two main reasons why i do not actually speak spanish now. first of all, there really was no room in my schedule once i hit high school and college to actually take more classes. no really, i didn't have room. lots of math classes. lots. but really, once again, full disclosure here.... it is just that i am lazy.

yes we are back to that, i am lazy. if i really stop and think, which i have recently done...i admit to myself that right now, a full 15 years after i first desired to be able to speak spanish or play the piano, would be very cool to do...i have had ample opportunity to learn them both, but i haven't. it is not like i have a desire to walk on the moon, or climb mount everest. ya, that would be tough. these two...are actually attainable. i have just not wanted to put in the time, effort, and energy to make it happen. instead i have spent the last 15 years admiring other people who can speak spanish or play the piano. and man, if you can do both...i absolutely want to be your best friend.

why in the world am i telling you all of this? well...lately i have been thinking about this time of year. we just finished celebrating the Christmas season. i must be honest and tell you that i am a little tired of "happy holidays". sorry, but i am. i'm over it. i am all about keeping the "Christ" in Christmas. well, this reminded me of how i signed our family Christmas cards this year...Merry CHRISTmas, love team holzberger! i wanted to be clear. bout what the most important part of this holiday was. i think it worked. i've always said that when you look at it that way, you can clearly see what comes first (CHRIST) and the rest of the word, you can see how much of Him we should want..."mas", which in my vast spanish speaking knowledge, i know, means "more". that's it. we need "mas" CHRIST, people.

but, unfortunately, i don't think that people really look at it that way. in fact, i think it is just the opposite in our society nowadays. instead, we are all about celebrating a merry christMAS. we aren't concerned with the first half of the word, just the last half will do, thank you very much. we spend this season wanting/buying/spending/planning "mas". more. more. more. mas. mas. mas. sad, isn't it? well, to me it is. am i immune? no way, jose! i can be seen with more of this and more of that during this time of year. don't believe me? simply ask my dear sweet hubby to see my snowman collection. (but be prepared for him to try and give you some snowmen to take home with you!) talk about "mas".

but, here's the deal, friends. you see...i know that we are a few days after Christmas but, we don't have to lose the spirit. the spirit of this season is a lovely thing. loving "mas". caring "mas". giving "mas". it isn't about us. it is about the Jesus in us. but, the great news is that it isn't at all limited to the month of december. in fact, it is just the opposite. anyone can display this spirit during the time of year that you are "supposed" to. someone cuts you off on the road, you let it slide, after all it's Christmas. you have a spare saturday afternoon to volunteer somewhere, after all it's Christmas. that is expected. but, it takes a lot more discipline, a lot more maturity, a lot more of us choosing to display Jesus and not ourselves to do it in the other 11 months of the year.

so, why then, is it so hard? well, the reason is simple, friend. and it is the same reason behind the fact that i can only play chopsticks and tell you that the rainbow is made up of rojo, anaranjado, amarillo, verde, azul, i can't even remember purple!

we, my friend are...lazy.

it takes a fair amount of self-discipline to spend time in God's Word every day. it takes even more discipline to speak kind words to everyone we see in our normal day. and it takes almost divine self-discipline to put all other before ourselves at all times. (whew, that does sound tough!) but it is much more attainable that we might think. but, we have to be willing to put in the work. uh-oh, did you say work?

seems to me that sometimes people see "work" as a dirty four letter word. yes, i belong to this group of people. do you?

Jesus was pretty clear about what his mission was. (john 12) He came to serve God and spread His Name and His love and His good news to all people. seems like that is the perfect person to model. i'm no biblical scholar, but i'm quite sure that the following verses don't contain an appedix that states *limited to the month of december.

john 13:35 "by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

philippians 2:3 "do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."

and this one really gets me...

mark 10:45 "for even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many"

who am i to think that i shouldn't be serving people all twelve months of the year? Jesus, the Word made flesh (john 1:14) came and even He served and served and served. mark 10:45 doesn't end with..."as long as the calendar sayeth december". c'mon friends, that is silly.

why can't we celebrate "mas" of Christ, long after Christmas is over. i think we can. i know we can, actually. but, i know we cannot do it on our own. thankfully we don't have to.

luke 12:12 "for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."

john 14:26 "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

romans 5:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

by daily spending time in His Word, being in continuous communication with Him, praying for the Holy Spirit to guide you, putting others before yourself, having a happy heart in all circumstances...this is how we can have "mas" of Christ each and every month of each and every year. is it difficult sometimes? no, it is difficult at all times. we need all the help we can get to live in this sinful world and not blend right in with it. but, i encourage you, friend, as i encourage myself, that each day is a new day...each day is a new opportunity to spread not just the spirit of the season, but the spirit of the REASON behind the everyone in your life, beginning with those who share your last name and the roof over your head! so, merry CHRIST"mas" to you friend, today, and in march and in july...and all year long. but, don't worry...i'm not expecting a Christmas card each month...we gotta draw the line somewhere, eh?

ps. just so you know...that best friend of mine, lindsay...has been a missionary in mexico with her husband and kiddos for the last 8 years. darn her. :) she sounds fantastic with her fluent spanish and i'm left with "cheese is very tasty and where is the bathroom?" oh well. i couldn't be prouder of her and how God is using them! check them out ... (luke and lindsay greer)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

diving in head first and forgetting i can't swim

anyone else out there have a very healthy fear? or two? or seven?? (hundred) ya, that's me.

i remember when i was growing up, i had quite a few very healthy fears. some were warranted, some were not. i had a very healthy fear of my father when i heard the sounds of him begin to remove his belt an take the shinier side of his buckle to the not-so-shinier part of my backside. that fear was warranted. and, all to often, so was the spanking.

but i had plenty of fears that were just plain silly.

for instance - the trundle people. every heard of them? well, according to my big brother, the "trundle people" lived under my bed and if i fell asleep with any part of my body hanging off of my trundle bed, they would pull me under. very. healthy. fear. but, was it warranted? well, to a seven year old scaredy cat with an extrememly overactive imagination, yes. and yes, my big bro still denies ever telling me that. but, c'mon, what little girl makes that kind of thing up on her own? not this one.

one word. jaws. i saw that movie at waaay too young an age. it deserves a blog all its own. but trust me. very. healthy. fear.

then there was the drain at the bottom of the pool. can i get a witness?? ooohhh, that one scared me to death. and someone (no, i won't blame my big broher for this one! :) told me that if you put your hand flat against the drain that the suction would be so intense that you wouldn't be able to release your hand and you would drown. or if you happen to be swimming near the drain and you had long hair (yes, i had long hair) then it would get tangled up in the drain and once again, you'd drown. ugh. that one got me good. even as i got older and i rationalized that the liklihood of either of those things being completely true was slim to none, i still didn't chance it. i avoided the pool drain at all costs. even in the pool at my grandparent's house, which was honestly like 10 feet deep...i would jump off the super springy diving board and then do my very best to either surface quickly, which, by the way, made me look quite awkward, as if i really didn't know how to swim after all. or, plan b...i would purposely, if ever so subtly, swim to the side of the pool to the avoid the drain area altogether. drain? what drain? oh me?? i'm just swimming over here towards the ladder, that's all. ya. whatever. very. healthy. fear.

well, i don't have enough space to tell you all about my fears i've had as a "big girl" now, but trust me, they are many. will ryan leave me? will we always be broke? will something tragic happen to me? my kids? my ryan?? fear has always been a big deal in my life. i say has been because God has truly been working hard core on this issue in me. i have heard it said that fear is the biggest killer of faith. maybe that's why He's been working as hard as He has for as long as He has. He knows that my faith won't grow with fear lingering around waiting for me to fall asleep with my arm-a-danglin' off the side.

lately, i have brushed back up against some fearful thoughts. darnit. i thought that things had been going so well in that department. but lately, as i have been getting back into the swing of things, so to speak, i have heard that all-too-familiar voice in my thoughts telling me that the things i fear most are going to come true. and once i got past the flat out feeling of being mad about it. i really sat and thought, "what is going on?" "why is this happening now?" and then it hit me....oh ya, how's my life been lately?? hmmm...well, let me tell you. let me tell you how i have dived in head first...

up until about three weeks ago i have literally been lying flat on my couch ALL day every single day for the past four months. (see earlier posts for my specific medical drama!:) i mean, occasionally i would get up to go to the bathroom, or take a bath, (you are welcome) or take one of the 142 pills i have been on. but, that was it. i was flat on my back, trying to let my God and my body heal. so, i had quite a bit of "spare" time on my hands. my amazing parents were helping with my three small children and that meant that they woud take them with them to run errands-often enough, leaving me with a nice, quiet house. perfect chance to turn up that praise and worship and get into the Word. it was awesome. i mean, not the months on end of being unable to sit upright, that part...not so awesome. but, man...i was a "spiritual stud" (she said humbly) i was getting my Bible study done like days early (an absolute first for me!!)....soaking up my devotional books...writing a blog or two a week.....researching....listening to praise and worship....really just soaking it in. God and i were tight and i was blessed by that. God and i are still tight...but my schedule, you could say...has changed quite a bit. no kidding, it is unbelievable that only three short weeks ago i was praising to my dear friend that i had made the kid's breakfast AND folded a load of laundry all in one day.

but...then i started to get better. day by day, bit by bit...i started to get a little bit closeer to normal. for the record, i have sooo far to go it isn't even funny...but let me just tell you what i have done in the past three weeks alone....

driven my kids to and from school (at least 6 times)(that one deserves an AMEN! i love it!)....gone to a girl's night at my neighbor and best friend's house....attended the amazing women's dinner at our church....gone twice out with a friend to do Christmas shopping....attended a end of the sememster luncheon with my Bible study girls....washed probably 12 loads of laundry-all on my own....had two full days with no help from anyone at all with my three small kids....gone to see Rudolph on stage with my family....taken the kids to the mall to see Santa.....gone to church four times (including a worship wednesday!!)....attended each of my boy's Christmas parties at school....helped a friend decopage gifts for friends.....made two batches of homemade banana muffins (first batch was so burnt, you wouldn't believe it!)....handmade four teacher's gifts for boy's teachers at school.....made breakfast for all three kiddos at least 7-8times....made lunches for all three kiddos about that many times, too!....taken Chirstmas card pictures with my family.....designed Chirstmas cards online....addressed and mailed 100 Christmas cards (yes, i have a super big family!!)....created six, count 'em six calendars online for Christmas presents for the grandparents and great grandparents....handwashed i don't even know how many sinks FULL of dishes (no, our dishwasher doesn't work. you are listening to our dishwasher!) :).....attended a mother/daughter tea with my precious mom and my darling daughter....

whew! i am worn out by just typing that out. literally.

i think what has happened to me is that i am was so stinkin' thrilled that i could do something...that i no want do everything! ever hear the phrase "anything worth doin' is worth over-doin'!" ya, unfortunately, that is so often my motto...whether i mean for it to be or not.

would you care to know what i have NOT done over the past three weeks??? don't really want to share this part...not so proud of it...but here we go...... i have not spent a minimum of1-2 hours a day doing Bible study like i had in the past....i have not made it a priority to wake up before my kids do so i am guaranteed quiet time alone with God before my day begins....i have not answered the call i believe God has on my life by writing to you wonderful people about how He speaks to me and teaches me and reaches out to me each and every day....i have not completed my Bible study over the course of the entire week in preparation for wednesday morning, instead of doing it all last minute tuesday night and wednesday morning with a big "whew, that was close" under my breath....or even worse, not doing it at all...ugh.

i think you get the idea. i know i did. when i was lying in our sweet church listening to my pastor talk all about God and how greatly He wants to use us, if only we could get out of our own way. how sometimes, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to fully living out the purposes God has in our lives. ooohh, i wonder if he was just talking directly to me? i thought so, for sure. in fact, i'm pretty sure he put my name at the top of the bulletin, "ya, this is for you, attention!"

our pastor often says this: "the good news is this: you can have all of God that you want to. all of His power, all of His love, all of His intimacy. that's the good news. the bad news is this: you have about all of God that you want to."

ouch. God is readily available. and we are readily preoccupied.

and so true. here i am lying flat for so long, depending on Him for each hour, to get me trhough each doctor's appointment, and medical issue, each day full of doubt and uncertainty....and now look at me. a few breaths of the "freedom" i had before...and whooosh....i dive in head first. never you mind that i can't swim on my own. i mean, don't get me wrong...i still have fellowship with Him, i still praise and worship throughout the day, thank Him for so many small things...i am still very much communicating with Him throughout my day...but i have found myself wandering dangerously close to "that" place. you know "that" place i'm talking about, don't you?? well, maybe you don't. but, i know it. all. too. well. "that" place where you make sure you have "checked off" your God time so you can get on about the things in your day you just have to get done. yuck. i despise my own behavior. and what do you can only last like that for so long. your spiritual reserve cannot sustain you for one minute longer than He has designed it to. you don't spend four months lying flat with God, to store it up, so that once you are walking around again, you don't have to come back for more until next season. oooh, friend that isn't how it works. don't believe about the manna. in exodus 16, they wanted to store the stuff up so they wouldn't have to keep going back to God. it doesn't quite work that way. it spoils. and so do we.

and you know what, i'm thankful for that. i want to God who wants me back. who desires daily (hourly) fellowship with me. what kind of God would He be if He made us tread water out there on our own, flailing our arms all around, constantly coming up for air, looking like we've never seen the inside of a pool....when He, the One who walked upon the water (matthew 14) knows all about the drain, how to avoid it, or whether or not we even need to avoid it.

so, here i am confessing to you. i am so utterly grateful for all of the wonderful victories that God has allowed me to take part in over these last three weeks. i mean it, i am just so very thankFULL!! every single one has been precious. and about 75% of them have flat brought me to tears. no, really. i may even be underestimating that number! i have been a big ol' mess lately.

but, i am back now, i know this is what God wants me to do. to write about Him. to serve Him. to faithfully and single-mindedly do "this one thing" (see philippians 3) that He has called me to do. and no, it may not be as practical, as i get better and better and my kids get louder and older :) for me to have all of these hours and hours of Bible study every day like i had somewhat grown accustomed to. but, God knows my heart. (boy, does He!?!) and He knows yours. please do not let our enemy try to convince you that you are too far gone. no such thing, friend. no such thing. don't let him convince you that you've blown it. you haven't. ok, well...i take that back. you have blown it. but, so have i. and so did jacob. and noah. and peter. (three times!) and paul. and jonah. and sarah. and rachel. and david. oh, i could go on and on and on....but he would just assume you bask in your blown-it-ness and stay there, convinced that you can't be used again in any sort of real way. ya right. the Bible is F-U-L-L of people who got lots of chances. i don't know about you, but i cling to that, friend.

the point, my friend, is this. i haven't been wet from swimming around in what seems like a very loooong time. i haven't even been able to sit up and dangle my feet in the pool. i have felt bone dry. but, now i'm in. i'm all in. bikini days are over, however. looong over, we can all be thankful for that one. but really.... i am here. soaking wet and dripping with joy. and i am thankful, so very thankful for the fact that i get to take this God, my God and your God, and take Him along for every minute of every day on this ride He has given us called today. and the fear of no stupid drain is going to keep me from diving in head first. and no...i can't do it all. i shouldn't even try. yes, i do look like a fool who can't swim. but once again, He made the water. so, i know if i stick with Him, i'm good. and friend, so are you.

so....ready to dive in? He's ready....let's do this thing...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

it's just like riding a bike

well, will never...ever guess what i did today!?!

ran a marathan? no.

re-roofed our housee? no.

just teasing . :)

but seriously...I DROVE A CAR!!

waaahooooooooo!!!!! :)

after FOUR looong months of spending 23 out of every 24 hours in a day flat on my back, thanks to my stinkin' ol' leaking spinal fluid...i have spent the last two weeks trying to be upright more. it hasn't been easy. it hasn't been "fun". in fact, it has flat worn me out. but i am so thankFULL (see previous post) for how God has strengthened me more and more each and every day!

isaiah 40:29 " He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

i have seen God live this verse out in my life over the last two weeks, for sure. two weeks ago, i was praising Him because i was able to fix my kids' breakfast and do two loads of laundry, all within the same day. and today, just two weeks later, i drove our car! waaahoooo!!!!

but, i gotta tell you, i was a little nervous about it. i mean, really, i can count on two hands the number of times i have driven a car in the last year, almost. and i have driven a car a whopping zero times in the last four months. so, i was thinking..."i will remember how to do this, right?" they say it is just like riding a don't forget. just start pedaling and it will come back to you. well, today, friend...pedal, i did.

it's funny though cause i felt like such a big, fat, dork. (i know, shocker!) but i was driving around and i felt like i had felt some 15 some odd (ish) years ago. don't you remember how it felt? that day...that amazing, glorious, beautiful day?? the day when, for the very first time, the folks let you take the car out without them? ooohh, i remember. it was like i literally had wings. i remember driving around wishing with all my might that i would drive by every single person i ever knew. i wanted them all to see me. all of them. especially the good looking boys. :) c'mon i was 16...gimme a break.

and this morning, while i am clearly quite far from 16, i kinda felt like i maybe i wasn't that far after all. i was be-bopping around my town with the biggest, dorkiest grin on my face and looking around at everyone at each stop light, like "heeeyy yooou guuyyss....LOOK I'M DRIVING A CAR AGAIN! waaahooooo!!!" i was so giddy i could hardly stand it. i just knew i was going to get a speeding ticket because i kept looking down and was joyfully (although inadvertantly) stretching that speed limit by 7-9 mph. i didn't though. get a ticket, that is. thank you God for that. talk about a big bummer for my wonderful morning that would have been. plus, i didn't want to get grounded! :)

i even had the radio on KLTY, our local Christian radio station, which is where the dial generally stays put when i am driving. generally. but, alas, it is december so they are playing all Christmas music all the time. ugh. (that's a subject for a whole different post, trust me) anyway, one of my favorite Christmas songs came on that reinforced my 16-year-old mentality i was experiencing at the time. it's the good ol' "carol of the bells". ya see, not sure if you knew this about me...but, i was in choir in high school. now, let me be clear...i was not a choir stud. i always tease that i am a nice, solid, but my on the third row of a large choir-singer...don't give me a solo, friend, or you'll be sorry. at my high school, choir was kind of a big deal. and being in the top honor choir was even a bigger deal. i didn't make it until my junior year, but once i did and once Christmastime came, i knew what that meant. i knew i'd be joining the years and years of lakeview choir members who sang that traditional song each year.

so here i am, again, just a couple years later :) and joyfully singing along to the radio "hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away. diiiing, doooong, diiing dooong. diiing, doong, diing, diiiing, doooooong." the alto part wasn't much to smile at. kinda anti-climactic really. but, still...when i heard it come on, i wondereded if i'd remember it, soooo many years later. once again...i guess it's just like riding a bike. so, once again, pedal i did.

then, as i was driving around, basking in my newfound freedom, the gas light came on in my car and i about jumped out of my seat! cool! i gotta stop and get gas! neat! i honestly can't remember the last time i did that!?! remember, once again, to your youthful days, when anywhere you got to drive was fine by you! my mom: "hey, we have to go to the grocery store!" me: "ok, mom, can i drive!?!" too funny. anyway...on this fine morning, since i really had no actual "plan" as to where i was going on my big adventure, i made an executive decision that i would not only stop and get gas, but i'd stop and get donuts for the kids as well. double fun!

i pulled into the gass station, and once again i'm smiling like a bafoon at everyone...thinking "can they tell?" "does it show?"...wondering if anyone else could tell that this was the first time i'd driven a car....been out in public...had my wings back on, if you four months?!? if the huge, goofy grin didn't show them, then they just probably thought i really liked putting gas in my car. and today i totally did! :) i had hoped i would remember how to do that too? i did stop and think..hmmm...which side of the car is the gas thingy on? do i have my debit card? what is my pin #? how much gas should i get? i wonder if sweet ryan would like a diet coke? turns out i did remember how to do it all. i am a big girl. i can put gas in the car. i thought i may had forgotten. but, once again, friend, pedal, i did. but, as i did... i was filled with questions. and then, as i looked down at myself, i was filled with embarrassment. ahhh man, i took inventory of myself and realized that i was still in my pajamas, yesterday's makeup and funktified-slept-weird-on hair. shoot! see, i hadn't really planned on actually getting out anywhere, i was just going for a short drive. i looked like a cross between a homeless person and a starving college student who woke up too late for their biology final. ( and yes, i have had these flannel pjs since i was that college student. hey, don't judge, they are beyond comfy!) i only hesitated for a minute, because i truly don't struggle that much with worrying about what i'm wearing, my makeup, hair etc. don't believe me? ask any of the fine people who saw me at the gas station or the donut shop today. they can vouch for me! :)

so, after a very quick trip in and out of the donut shop, i had the treats for the kids in hand. a pink donut for benjamin, and chocolate twist for jacob, and as many donut holes as i will allow sister friend to consume. she loves a lot of them. and while it is technically the same, she prefers to get five donut holes opposed to just one donut. i absolutely get that. she's totally her mother's daughter. God help us all. :), i was completely wiped out after this huge excursion of mine. very much ready to head home. and it had been about 20 minutes, so i was ready. i joyfully pointed my sweet 4runner, "skip" (yes he has a name. all cars should have names. it is completely normal!) due north and headed back to my wonderful home. i called my dearest friend and across the street neighbor as i turned onto our street, because i wanted to surprise her with the good news. i knew she would LOVE to look out her front window and see me driving by. she has called me every single day for the last year to check on me. i mean it...there literally might have been like 6 days out of the last year that she has not called to see how i was doing. talk about a devoted friend. and now God has made us neighbors. we call it our own little romans 8:28. :) anyway...she was still snoozing, which i was so happy to hear, because she too has three little ones and deserves her rest every chance she gets. but her sweet hubby was happy to see me on my giddy drive by. and i was happy to be seen. sooo happy.

i parked the car. took a deep breath in and out. thanked God for my safe trip. and hobbled inside, ready to crash and rest a bit. but, when i walked in the door...all three of my blessing kiddos were awake. only baby girl was awake when i left. so, the boys ran to me saying "mama!" but then they saw the distinct donut shop bag in my hands and their squeals turned to "donuts!!". even abigail, who had already technically had breakfast started squealing and dancing in place. hilarious!! benjamin, in true "joy boy" fashion hugged me and said "i missed you so much, mama!" i love that boy. and then my darling precious eldest child...who is so thoughtful, so methodical, so much like his daddy. but oh, he is mine too...this boy wears the weight of the world on his baby sized six-year-old shoulders, and has been more affected by my year long struggle that i am wanting to be aware! he stopped right square in his tracks, because it hit him...and he stared up at me with the sweetest look i've seen in so long and said, "mama, did you drive the car!?!" my eyes welled up and i answered happily "i sure did, buddy! isn't that awesome!!! gimme five! go mama, right? are you proud of me?!?" he smiled so big and said "way to go! yes i am, mama! cool!" it was the most perfect welcome home. just perfect.

and although i will spare you the details :) i actually got to take a shower too! waaahhooooo!!! right now you may be thinking to, seriously? please tell me that you have showered in the last four months. although that would explain the smell. :) he he. to be honest, i have not showered one solid time in the last four months. not once. i have, however, taken many, many baths. not being able to stand up means no showering. so, i have been forced to become a bath person, like it or not. but today, i got to shower. i kept it brief, but it was so cool. co very cool.

so, friend, i don't know about you, but it has been a great day! a very, very great day! and i am just so happy to share it with you!!! i hope you are encouraged, even just a little, by my current ability to find joy in pumping gas into my car. you, too, can do this. trust do not have to go through what i have been through to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. God has blessed each one of us with a gift called today. i mean it. if you are breathing in and out right now (and i'm assuming that you are) then you, too, can be so happy for today.

and you, too, can pedal again. maybe you think you have forgotten what it is like to....

feel pretty?


go to church?

read your Bible?

just. feel. happy?

no matter what it has been, friend. trust that God can restore you. trust Him. trust that you, too, can enjoy yourself again. and your life again. it's just like riding a bike, right? just. start. pedaling, sweet friend. and know that our sweet God, who loves you more than you know is rejoicing over you... and riding right next to you...the whole way. enjoy the ride, friend, enjoy the ride.

zeph. 3:17 "the Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

romans 15:13 "may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

1 peter 5:10 "and the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you, and make you strong, firm, and steadfast."